Friday, April 15, 2016

The von Kahr Story

This is one of my German history essays.

In 1919....the war for Germany ends, and German troops return home.  For Corporal Hitler, he returns back to Bavaria.  It's an interesting period for young man.  He's charged up on enthusiasm for the German military but out of work.  He find this nifty job.  The Bavarian military is running an office in Munich called the Education and Propaganda Department (it's a left-over piece of the Prussian military system, if you were wondering why it exists).

These folks are tracking and spying on various political parties in Bavaria....mostly out of fear that political chaos will erupt and disturb the current, planned, and approved political chaos underway.  You can only allow approved chaos.....not the unapproved chaos.

So, it's a simple job for young Hitler.  He's an agent.....paid a fairly low sum of money but this is great use of his talent.....well....whatever talent that a infiltrator would have.  All he has to do is walk in.....stand around....listen to comments....sip beer (likely paid for the job as well)....and just remember enough for a report later.

The party chosen for the young Hitler?  The German Workers Party (DAP).

No one ever writes much over this or talks about the prospective that happens here.....but as Hitler comes in and sits through these discussions at the beer hall on DAP vision.....he agrees with them completely.  In a matter of a couple of weeks.....he's now charged up and politically lined up with DAP, and espousing their beliefs.

So, we come to the story and relationship to young Hitler....involving Gustav Ritter von Kahr.

Kahr is an older gentleman in 1920 (fifty eight years old).  He's a lawyer and avoided WW I.  He is emerging in 1920 as the Prime Minister of Bavaria.

Kahr comes to this situation because of the Kapp 'coup' in the spring of that year in Berlin.  For a few short days....the Weimar Republic was briefly pushed out and a right-wing agenda type government was attempting to take root.  The attempt?  A Failure.

As part of the clean-up of this mess....that's how Kahr ends up with the job.

The job for Kahr?  It's what is referred to as the 'cell of order' (Ordnungszelle).  The logic behind the 'cell of order' bring right-wing groups together and move the nation to the new standard philosophy.

To achieve this Kahr puts together a "triumvirate".  It's a three-man committee who will govern and lay out the strategy of the new Bavaria.  So, Kahr has partnered up with the chief of police and the General over the Bavarian military.

In this period toward the fall of 1923, Kahr and his associates are organizing, and discussing the future.  They are the 'answer' to the problem of leadership in Germany itself (looking way beyond Bavaria).  The government in Berlin?  "Un-German".  The right-wingers?  "Pro-German".  You can sense where this is going.

On 8 November 1923, Kahr and his right-wing extremists were meeting in Munich.....3,000 people in attendance....and young Hitler appears.

Hitler leads the Brown-Shirts into the beer hall.  He interrupts Kahr's speech, and starts yelling about his group now leading the new revolution, with them supporting Ludendorf.  Hitler has a gun in his hands and insists that Kahr and his two associates from the triumvirate now support his and now....on 8 November 1923.

Our three triumvirate guys?  In the hectic chaos of the beer hall....they disappear out the backdoor.

Hitler then yells for the gang......his folks and the right-wing crowd of the beer march the next day to the police headquarters and start the coup there.

The triumvirate guys?  They apparently go and think about the situation, and make an attempt to stop Hitler and the coup crowd the next day.  History records that four cops died the next day, along with sixteen Brown-Shirts.  The coup by young Hitler?  Stopped in its tracks.....mostly because of the warning by the triumvirate guys (led by Kahr).

Hitler?  Arrested and sentence to five years in prison.  He's released six months later.

Kahr?  There's some serious questions after the coup-attempt.  Some folks (right-wing type) didn't have a problem with the Hitler moment, and felt that the coup might have been successful, with the crowd driving off or riding the rails to Berlin, and staging a massive coup in mid-November of 1923.  There's a suggestion that some people down the line would have easily arranged for some arrest later for Hitler in Berlin, and other more established right-wing members would have taken over the German government at that point.

Roughly sixty days after this coup episode.....Kahr resigns.  He goes to become a law official for Bavaria and retires from public life in 1927.

You'd think that was the end of the Kahr story, but late June of 1934 (a decade later).....Hitler's next coup operation occurs (the Night of the Long Knives episode).  The thugs in charge are told to go and pick up the retired and elderly Kahr, age 71, and transport him to Dachau.  There's some torture, and then finally Kahr is shot and murdered.

As you sit back and review this little episode.  There are various coup episodes occurring throughout this period of German history.  Anyone who thinks that Democracy is safe without the wrong.

What if Bavaria had found some way to leave Germany in this 1920 period?  What if young Hitler had been sent to some other political party existing at the time instead of the DAP?  What if 1923 coup had taken place and young Hitler had led his thugs onto Berlin, with Kahr along side?  What if the young Hitler had been kept in prison for the full five years?

Yeah.....a lot of whats-ifs.

And at some point, you have to wonder from 19 December 1924 until mid-summer of 1934....what was Kahr thinking about Hitler, and if he was ever worried about his safety.

A statue of Gustav von Kahr?  None.

The one guy who did stop Hitler in his tracks, for one brief year.

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